Treating Lead Poisoning

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is not easy to detect. Sometimes no symptoms occur and sometimes the symptoms are the same as those of more common illnesses like the flu. Early signs of lead poisoning are:

– Persistent tiredness or hyperactivity
– Irritability
– Loss of appetite
– Weight loss
– Reduced attention span
– Difficulty sleeping
– Constipation

Testing for Lead Poisoning

If you’re concerned that your child or others might be at risk for lead poisoning, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend a blood test that will help to either confirm or rule out a diagnosis of lead poisoning.

All children’s blood levels should be tested at both 12 and 24 months, with additional testing every six months if elevated levels are found. The acceptable ‘safe’ level of lead in blood is 5 micrograms per deciliter, with 10 micrograms causing graduated levels of monitoring or treatment. Children with a blood lead level of 45 micrograms would undergo more serious treatment.

Treating Lead Poisoning

Children with dangerously high blood lead levels — 45 micrograms/dL or more — can be treated by chelation (pronounced key-LAY-shun). Chelation involves giving a child one of two drugs that quickly remove lead from the blood.
Chelation can save the life of a child with acute lead poisoning, but Chelation does not reverse the adverse effects of lead on the brain.
If lead has been removed from the child’s environment and the child gets a healthy diet, lead levels will naturally decrease over time. Also, children who have had high blood lead levels should be assessed by a neuropsychologist at age 6 years to evaluate the need for educational interventions.
Adults can be treated with both drugs and Chelation therapy.

Find a Lead Testing Center In Your State– Map – Click on Your State

The best way to determine whether you or your child is suffering from lead poisoning is through a blood test administered by a healthcare professional. Most states have a health department that can help you find a testing professional in your area.